Earlier this week, a 37-year-old Chicago man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for causing the deaths of a 35-year-old mother and her 16-year-old son in 2011. Three other children were also injured in the accident.
The sentencing came nearly two years after the tragic incident occurred on August, 9, 2011 in the Northwest Side of Chicago. According to court reports, the Chicago man was rushing to pick up his girlfriend in his Ford Mustang. While traveling south on Austin Avenue at high speeds, he slammed into a Honda Civic as it was exiting Sunnyside Avenue. The 35-year-old mother and her 16-year-old son, a student at Taft High School, suffered fatal injuries during the collision.
Three other children – the woman's stepson, son, and a family friend – were also injured in the car crash. One victim, a high school student at the time, suffered injuries severe enough to leave his vision and hearing permanently damaged on the left side of his head. He was forced to give up his dreams of becoming a U.S. Marine. The woman's then three-year-old son suffered a broken leg and a then 16-year-old family friend suffered a fractured pelvis. The vehicle was traveling to Wisconsin for an end-of-summer camping trip.
At the time, the man did not have a driver's license and according to authorities, did not have a valid license since at least 2003. Cook County prosecutors had also revealed that the man continued to drive and accumulate a number of tickets without a license. Upon investigation of the incident, the man tested positive for cannabis (marijuana), but was later found not guilty by a Leighton jury on counts of impaired driving. His attorneys argued that the amount of marijuana present in the man's system were so small that they could have come from second hand smoke or from ingestion of marijuana days or weeks before the incident. Jurors eventually convicted him on several counts of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide.
Proving Fault & Liability in Car Accidents
Although arguments exist as to whether the man in this incident was truly impaired at the time this collision occurred, the case does serve to illustrate a few important points victims should understand after they've suffered damages in a car accident. First, the man in this case was held accountable for his actions. Regardless of whether he was driving under the influence or not, the man was responsible for causing the accident. At the time of the collision, he was also speeding. By illustrating these factors and presenting them clearly and convincingly in court, Attorney Robert Duncan – our firm's founding lawyer – can ensure that the at-fault party in your case is held financially liable for the losses you incurred, including your physical, emotional, and financial damages.
In car accident cases, injured victims and their attorneys should focus on presenting any and all evidence that another driver's negligence, carelessness, or wrongful act resulted in their accident and injury. Speeding, driving under the influence, and driving without a license – all of which the man in this case did – are aggravating circumstances that can be used to establish fault and liability, as well as to provide sufficient reason for local jurisdictions to pursue criminal charges. Whatever factors may have contributed to your accident, a Chicago personal injury attorney from the firm is prepared to personally review your case, inform you of your right to recover your damages, and fight aggressively on your behalf to secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact Duncan Law Group to learn more.